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Saturday April 14, 2007Florida Football Holds 2007 Orange and Blue Debut

Gainesville, FL

The defending national champion University of Florida football team capped its 2007 spring season with the annual Orange and Blue Debut before a crowd of 47,500 fans at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Blue defeated Orange, 27-20, for its first victory since April 10, 2004, and only its fourth in the past 12 seasons.

 

Sophomore quarterback Tim Tebow (Jacksonville, Fla.) led the Blue team, as freshman quarterback Cameron Newton (College Park, Ga.) made his collegiate debut as signal caller for the Orange. Junior Louis Murphy (St. Petersburg, Fla.) led the Blue team with 129 receiving yards on an Orange and Blue Debut-record eight catches, including a 41-yard launch from Tebow in the second quarter. The Orange receiving corps turned in a combined 275 yards on the afternoon, led by sophomore wide receiver David Nelson (Wichita Falls, Texas), who totaled 90 yards on a game-record eight receptions.

 

Blue dominated the ground game with the skilled footwork of freshman running back Chevon Walker (Ft. Myers, Fla.), who dazzled the crowd in his first game as a Gator with 74 yards on 14 carries. Walkerís long rush of the day came on a 20-yard dash that set Blue up in the redzone for the teamís second touchdown.

 

Opening scoring on the initial drive of the game, Blue struck first as Walker notched his first career touchdown on a three-yard run with 9:48 remaining in the first quarter. Tebow saw his first completion of the 2007 season on a 27-yard hookup with senior wide receiver Andre Caldwell (Tampa, Fla.) down to the Orange 17-yard line, that set up the 7-0 lead.

 

On their next two possessions, Blue padded its advantage when Tebow connected with freshman tight end Aaron Hernandez (Bristol, Conn.) for a seven-yard touchdown and found Murphy on the next drive for nine yards to push ahead, 21-0. At the close of the half, a four-yard reception by sophomore wide receiver Cade Holliday (Gainesville, Fla.) finalized scoring for the Blue with a 27-0 cushion after a missed PAT.

 

Orange narrowed the gap to 27-7 in the third quarter when sophomore running back Brandon James (St. Augustine, Fla.) reached paydirt on a one-yard rush. The drive spanned 59 yards in five plays, highlighted by a 28-yard completion from Newton to sophomore wide receiver Jarred Fayson (Tampa, Fla.). In the fourth quarter, James tacked on two more touchdowns on a four-yard run and a 39-yard pass from Newton, respectively, to close the gameís scoring at 27-20.

 

Blue held a 349-265 edge in total offensive yards, including 4-of-8 on third down conversions, as well as a defensive performance that posted four sacks for a loss of 21 yards. Tebow completed 17-of-27 passes for 216 yards and gained 36 yards on eight rushes, while Newton (20-of-30) passed for 275 yards. The Gators will open the 2007 regular season at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium against Western Kentucky on September 1.

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